Matadero Madrid center for contemporary creation

Dave Eggers in conversation with Marta Peirano

Imagine if it were fiction: literature as a weapon against cynicism
1 of July 2022




Nave 17. Nave una

The new edition of Matadero Madrid's literary program welcomes one of the most acclaimed contemporary American authors, Dave Eggers

On the occasion of the publication of The All (Random House Literature, 2022), his latest novel, the American writer will talk with writer and journalist Marta Peirano about the issues that articulate his literature: the renunciation of general privacy to which society is lending itself due to the disturbing power that technology companies accumulate, and the importance of civic commitment, struggle and resistance from everyday life.

Dave Eggers rose to fame in 2000 with the publication of his first book, his memoir, A Moving, Amazing, Brilliant Story. The work, which the Times of London considered one of the fifteen best books of the decade, quickly became a bestseller and inspired a debate not only about the author, but also about postmodernism and the state of literature in the 21st century. Over the following decades, his works have been a constant presence on both the bestseller lists and in literary criticism, and the author has been nominated for the Pulitzer, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the National Book Award in the United States.

Eggers' interests and literary work span historical and political issues, from how loss and death affect us, to the failures of the social justice system and racism, and how the idea of individuality taints our perception of reality, to issues related to unstoppable technological advancement. In his novel The Circle (Random House Literature, 2017), which was made into a film in 2017, an infocommunism managed by the most predatory mode of capitalist dynamics allowed us to recognize the latent nightmare of a totalitarianism in the era of transparency, social networks and the globalized virtual community.

The narrative style of his early works led critics to frame him within contemporary literary postmodernism with the use of resources such as metafiction, the unreliable narrator and intertextuality, but his evolution makes him a creator who transcends literary labels. His constant mixture of genres (from speculative fiction to journalism, from biography to satire) and his stance against cynicism and deterministic thinking, make him a singular author in continuous literary and vital learning.

Marta Peirano, a specialist in the web and digital culture, will talk with Eggers at Matadero Madrid on the occasion of the appearance of his latest work in Spain, The Everything (Literatura Random House, 2022). "A deft modern synthesis of Swiftian wit with Orwellian prognosis," said the British newspaper The Guardian about this work, sequel to The Circle. In it, a young employee joins the world's most important internet and social networking company: The Circle. Gradually she discovers that, behind the air of modernity, idealism and good working environment, hide practices that resemble those of a sect, and that the "digital utopia" proposed by The Circle leads to the annulment of the right to privacy. In El Círculo, El Círculo merges with the largest online commerce platform on the planet. Under the premise of ensuring the safety of users, the protection of the environment and the optimization of our lives, The Everything is a company that promotes the surveillance of all its users. Only a few skeptics intuit the more sinister side of this future in which freedom is at stake.

Dave Eggers (Boston, 1970) is the author of A Moving, Amazing, Cool Story, Now You'll Know What Running Is, What's What, Zeitoun, A Hologram for the King, The Circle, Heroes of the Frontier, and The Monk of Mocha, among others. He is the founder of McSweeney's publishing house and co-founder of Voice of Witness, a collection of books that sheds light on humanitarian crises through oral histories. In 2002 he co-founded 826 Valencia, a writing center for young people that has inspired similar programs around the world. This program spun off ScholarMatch, which matches donors with students to facilitate college access for those struggling to do so. In 2018, Eggers co-founded the International Congress of Youth Voices, a global gathering of writers and activists under the age of twenty. Eggers' books for young readers include What Can a Citizen Do, His Right Foot, This Bridge Won't Be Gray, The Lifters, and The Wild Things, among others. Trained as a painter, Eggers' works have been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, the Nevada Museum of Art, the Biennial of the Americas and numerous other galleries and art spaces. He has won the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award and the Prix Médicis Étranger, and has been a finalist for the Pulitzer, the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award. Eggers is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Marta Peirano (Madrid, 1975) is a journalist, writer and researcher. A regular contributor to El País, La Sexta, Muy Interesante and Radio Nacional de España, she has been assistant to the editor at, head of Culture at, curator of the Biennial of Thought in Barcelona and of the [Re]programming program at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Ljubljana. She has recently collaborated with the Centro Superior de Estudios de la Defensa Nacional and is a member of the Advisory Board of Oxfam Intermon's Global Digital Justice program. He has published Prometheus' Rival. Vidas de autómatas ilustres (Impedimenta, 2009), El pequeño libro rojo del activista en la red (Rocaeditorial, 2015) and El enemigo conoce el sistema (Debate, 2019). His latest book is Contra el futuro (Debate, 2022), an analysis of the technologies and myths designed to manage climate change.